RIVER FALLS, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – While the UW-Eau Claire men's basketball team was within one point with less than 30 seconds remaining, UW-River Falls held on to defeat the Blugolds 76-71 at the Karges Center today.
The Blugolds trailed the entire game as River Falls started the contest with a 14-5 run just over six minutes into the game.
River Falls continued its strong shooting in the first half and pushed its lead to 15 points (32-17) 14 minutes into the opening half. Eau Claire got within eight with just over a minute left in the half but the Falcons took a 41-29 lead into halftime.
The Blugolds started the second half with an opening basket from Nick Craggs (Sr.-Kimberly, Wis.) and steadily chipped away at the Falcons' lead throughout the half. Between an 11-minute stretch that lasted until the 24-second mark, the Blugolds outscored the Falcons 27-17 to get within one (70-69). But over the final 24 seconds, the Falcons hit six free throws to hang on for the win.
Lewis Mau (So.-Colfax, Wis.) led the Blugolds in scoring as he tied for a career high with 23 points. Craggs added 16 points and pulled down a team-high nine rebounds while Eric Effertz (So.-Ladysmith, Wis.) contributed 12 points.
While the Blugolds hit more shots from the field than the Falcons, 27-for-58 to 22-for-48, River Falls went 25-for-30 from the free throw line to 11-for-22 for the Blugolds.
Eau Claire drops to 10-12 on the season and 4-9 in the WIAC while River Falls improves to 7-14 overall and 2-10 in conference play.
The Blugolds will be off Wednesday and will be back home next Saturday for a game against UW-Stout for Alumni Weekend. Action will get underway at 3 p.m.